The challenges and opportunities of the sustainable development agenda explained to students in Korea

Feb 12, 2016

Mr. Artemy Izmestiev delivered his opening remarks on the new global agenda to students at the Korea Model United Nations (Photo: KMUN)

“As students and as young people, you have a natural inclination to take part in transformational change.”

Mr. Artemy Izmestiev, Policy Specialist at the UNDP Seoul Policy Centre (USPC), presented this message in his opening remarks at the 9th Session of the Korea Model United Nations (KMUN) Conference  in Seoul on 26 January 2016. The conference, hosted by Korea University, brought together middle school, high school and university students from around the country to discuss ongoing global issues, bring solutions to problems, and to sharpen their negotiation skills.  

In his opening speech, Mr. Izmestiev discussed the challenges and opportunities for the United Nations in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Addressing the challenges of the new agenda requires more collaboration across sectors, inclusion of those who have not benefited from past development efforts, and increased transparency and accountability through the effective implementation of an SDG indicator framework. Resource mobilization from developing countries, innovative sources of finance and private sector contributions, in addition to official development assistance and debt relief, are all important means of implementation. UNDP and USPC’s work in contributing to the achievement of the SDGs was also presented to the audience.

“The new goals are intended to be universal – providing shared common vision applicable to each country – from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. To which extent have we reflected on the implications of the SDGs on our own countries and organizations? The discussion on how the new agenda will affect the Republic of Korea and its role around the world should take place and it requires awareness by citizens and students like you,” he said, calling on today’s youth to play a unique role in global affairs.

Mr. Izmestiev concluded his speech with a note of encouragement for the students: “Sometimes the challenges can seem too overwhelming – then start to act as if the solution is already within your reach, as if you can already make a difference, even a small one.”

The KMUN has been annually held at Korea University since 2007 to help Korean students learn how the international community works together to discuss global issues. The debates were held from 26 to 29 January, 2016.